Study show that despite knowing the risk involved, young people still share naked pictures of themselves because they feel it’s normal and fun. They see it as way of discovering their sexuality and trust with their partner. Some have also admitted they were sometimes forced and endangered by strangers.
According to Dr. Ethel Quayle from the University of Edinburgh, “The experiences of the young people varied from coercive online grooming where children were pressured to produce images by use of aggressive threats, to the other end of the spectrum where the images were produced in a romantic and caring relationship. The consequences of sending the images were not always absolutely catastrophic, but they were for some people.”
A study called Self Produced Images Risk Taking Online (SPIRTO) found that 58 percent of young people sent nude photos because it was exciting, fun and a good way to flirt. 47 percent send photos to get compliments about their looks and as a self confidence booster. While 12 percent also say they have been forced into sending nude photos to strangers.
The study found that sending naked pictures doesn’t necessarily translate to the teen starting sex, but most times are ways to discover their sexuality and approval from partners.
“‘Maybe we have to accept that where it is not abused by others, the creation of images within a romantic and sexual relationship is part and parcel of growing up for some young people. However, we need to make sure that appropriate support structures are in place for when things may go wrong,” Dr. Quayle concluded.